Boston doctors prescribe bike-share memberships to low-income patients


Related Articles

A bike ride a day keeps the doctor away.

In a push to fight obesity and include all residents from all social backgrounds, doctors at Boston Medical Center now have the power to prescribe qualified patients discounted bike-share memberships through the new Prescribe-a-Bike program.

A membership is usually $85 per year; the Prescribe-a-Bike program will help low-income residents pay only $5 per year under the conditions that they use the bikes for 30 minutes or less at a time. They will also be given a free helmet.

“Obesity is a significant and growing health concern for our city, particularly among low-income Boston residents,” said Boston Medical Center CEO Kate Walsh in a statement. “Statistics show that close to 1-in-4 low-income Boston residents is obese, almost double the rate for higher-income residents. Regular exercise is key to combating this trend, and Prescribe-a-Bike is one important way our caregivers can help patients get the exercise they need to be healthy.”

The City of Boston already had enrolled about 900 qualified residents to its Hubway bike-share program with the discounted membership price. They are hoping to gain another 1,000 members through the Prescribe-a-Bike program.

"I hope we see our patients on bicycles riding to and from this hospital and around town, improving their health in the process," Boston Medical Center physician Dr. Alan Meyers told CBS News. "It may be very hard for people to find a place to exercise. Neighborhoods may not be safe. So what we're hoping is that instead of perhaps riding the bus from point to point within the city of Boston, people will be able to get on a bike and ride from station to station."